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Irregularities alleged at Laval Liberal nomination vote

11/28/2014 10:22 EST | Updated 01/28/2015 05:59 EST
CBC Montreal Investigates has confirmed the Liberal Party of Canada is looking into the results of a hotly contested nomination vote last Sunday in the Laval—Les Îles riding.

The vote was held to elect a candidate in next year’s federal election.

One of the losing candidates, MaroAkoury, told CBC she saw a person receiving two ballots. She said she flagged supervisors immediately and those responsible for the voting table were swapped out for other staff members.

“That is the only irregularity in terms of voting procedure that I had noticed and I did what I had to do so that everyone respects the due process,” Akoury said.

Another source, whom we agreed not to name, said they saw a person being called out by a voting table supervisor after trying to line up for a vote a second time.

The voting area at the Château Royal last Sunday was set up so that each voting table had a copy of the same voter’s list, according to sources.

They said supervisors were stamping people on the hand after they’d cast a vote.

Another candidate, ZahirElsamad, told CBC at least two of his volunteers saw people who were able to vote more than once.

“We don’t know how many persons do that, we don’t know how many times they did it...For me this vote is supposed to be cancelled.”

On his Facebook page, one of the losing candidates, Peter Papadakis, stated he “has made the decision to appeal the voting process and results.”

Papadakis also wrote he has “been receiving a tremendous amount of emails, phone calls and face-to-face contacts from members, sympathizers, and citizens from Laval—Les Îles inquiring about a questionable voting process and irregularities.”

Investigation underway

The Liberal Party of Canada did declare a winner that night - Faycal El Khoury.

The result, however, was not to everyone’s liking. A video posted on YouTube from the nomination meeting shows partisans of different candidates pushing and shoving each other moments before El Khoury’s victory was announced.

Akoury told CBC the altercation only lasted a few minutes and nobody was seriously hurt.

CBC was unable to reach Faycal El Khoury for comment.

Close to 2,500 Liberal party members showed up to cast their ballots on Nov. 23.

Party spokesman Olivier Duchesneau confirmed someone has launched an appeal and said the Grits’ Permanent Appeal Committee is now looking over the results. “There’s not much we can say about the appeal,” Duchesneau said, refusing to reveal what’s behind it, and also declining to provide the original vote results.

This marks the fourth such revision process since the end of September for the Grits.

Duchesneau said the party is also looking into appeals filed for the results at nomination votes for the Tobique-Mactaquac and Beauport-Limoilou ridings in New Brunswick and Quebec.

An appeal was also launched for Willowdale in Ontario, but it’s been overturned.

All handled internally

Elections Canada said its mandate does not include political party nominations, which are handled internally by each party.

Concordia University political scientist Bruce Hicks said those rules are occasionally revised.

“There has been talk a number of times amongst I think all of the parties, of the possibility of having Elections Canada take control of the process,” he said. “It usually doesn’t go very far.”

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